Securing ERP Data From Application Vulnerabilities: A Multi-Layered Security Approach

    Nowadays, it has become extremely important to secure your SAP and Oracle ERP data. Cybercriminals have been exposing many vulnerabilities using application misconfigurations. This has become more popular as criminals find ways to covertly penetrate applications and obtain access to thousands of records of employees.

    In December 2019, this situation happened to Microsoft. It was a human error. But these kinds of misconfigurations and human errors are one of the ways hackers can gain a foothold in your SAP or PeopleSoft ERP framework. The question now is, how can you secure your data after your perimeter protections have been side-stepped by an attacker?

    Misconfigurations: Fastest Growing Security Risk

    Misconfiguration errors (failure to enforce all security controls) are up 4.9 percent from last year’s report, according to the 2020 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, and reflect the fastest-growing risk to web applications. It is easy to apply this form of risk to legacy ERP systems because SAP and PeopleSoft ERP environments often consist of millions of custom-coded lines and custom-built components that interact with each other and with external systems via various APIs and time-bound interfaces.

    Besides, you’re dealing with a multitude of changes to roles, access controls, configurations, and compliance policy changes to accommodate new business processes and changing data privacy policies. If organizations are not evaluating and tracking all of these shifts and movement’s underlying security consequences, they are sure to face similar situations.

    Lastly, many companies don’t keep up to date with system updates and security patches. Just half of the vulnerabilities are patched within three months of detection, leaving businesses vulnerable to attacks against established exploits, according to the Data Breach Investigations Study.

    Adopting A Multi-Layered ERP Data Security Approach 

    The rising complexity of environments such as SAP and PeopleSoft, makes securing ERP data a significant challenge. In order to avoid inadvertent exposures through misconfiguration, it is recommended that businesses must follow a multi-layered security strategy with dynamic security tools that can track user access in real-time, offering clarity about what data is accessed and by whom.

    This multi-layered approach involves the masking of sensitive data, identity verification through multi-factor authentication (MFA), and enhanced logging and analytics. There are data security solutions that integrate protection layers to your ERP system to ensure that when an intruder strolls past your perimeter defenses due to a misconfiguration, your data is still secured.

    Dynamic Data Masking: It sets out contextual masking policies that respond to the access context. What it means is if a hacker tries to access sensitive data fields but does not match essential attributes such as user ID, privilege, device, location, or IP address, absolute, partial, click-to-view masking, or complete data field redaction will occur.

    Adaptive MFA: This ensures that contextual attributes (e.g., system, network, location) are the deciding factors in implementing MFA challenges. For example, when a user account accesses the system from a remote IP address, or after business hours, customers may require an MFA challenge.

    Enhanced Logging and Analytics: This feature allows you to track the networks for suspicious behavior and provide comprehensive insights into how, when, and by whom data fields and transactions are being accessed. This visibility is especially critical for recognizing users with high-privilege access that should not be accessing pages they are. Improved logging will track all the pages that a user has accessed during a session, helping to detect a possible intrusion. SAP and PeopleSoft ERP consumers did not have this sort of real-time data access and usage visibility earlier.

    Microsoft’s latest data breach owing to misconfiguration highlights the value of a security policy that continually checks for misconfigurations and compliance breaches. Enterprises should deploy a multi-layered security strategy that prevents unauthorized access to data and endows organizations with the ability to detect access patterns that can suggest incorrect access controls.

    Misconfigurations are a common mistake and should be handled by security professionals with the same sense of urgency and degree of commitment as their perimeter network. Not all attacks are external, after all.

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